The Rural Development centre in Kerio Valley, Elgeyo Marakwet County, Kenya has developed over the past 28 years however in July 2016 the CATIC was formally opened. It offers 25 week-long modules in crop production, livestock production and innovation and technical skills, all designed to address the demands of semi-arid areas. These have been developed into a one-year agricultural course suitable for Kenya’s small-scale farmers and NGOs, the private sector as well as County and National Government staff working in related fields.
Currently Beekeeping is one of four ‘livestock production modules’ however it is covered only by a short power point presentation. We are keen to support the centre’s aspiration to provide a high quality beekeeping teaching module. We have identified a need for further staff training and for upgraded teaching resources in order that there can be appropriate, practical beekeeping training.
Our aim is to ensure that students gain the knowledge and skills to support local community beekeeping groups and that they recognise the importance of bees and bio-diversity as part of the wider agriculture conversation.
There is great potential for the Centre to provide practical training. It has developed from Over the last 28 years the centre has, during which time staff have established a 50-acre farm growing fruit and vegetables, with a small dairy unit of cows and goats and a poultry section. Six years ago, Bees Abroad established a four-hive demonstration apiary at the centre. We worked with centre members to improve forage and biodiversity by establishing a small plantation of young trees. The honeybees aid the pollination of the fruit trees, and provide a visual demonstration to visitors of their importance in food production.
Bees Abroad are keen to help develop the training provided. First of all we wish to support high quality teaching and so will fund the Farm Manager to attend an intensive beekeeping course at the National Beekeeping institute in Nairobi. This will not only increase his competence as a practical beekeeper (he is responsible for the bees at the Centre) but will also enable him to become an assistant trainer.
We will also provide improved resources to aid practical training. We will provide a further set of hives for training in honey and wax production. These hives will be made from local materials and sited within a secluded and shaded part of the 50-
acre farm. We will also provide the college with other types of appropriate beehives that are not currently displayed at the Centre.
The work will be overseen and undertaken by our in-country Bees Abroad Trainer, Mr David Njuguna, a highly qualified beekeeper who will liaise with staff at the centre.
We would like to thank the Master of the Wax Chandlers, Peter Tompkins, and Michal Badger for their most valuable support.
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